Book Title: No Stone Unturned
Author: James W. Ziskin
Series: Ellie Stone #2
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Historical Fiction, Amateur Sleuth
Date Read: 06/28/16
Pub Date: 06/10/14
A dead girl in the woods. Three little oil spots on the dirt road. A Dr. Pepper bottle cap in the shallow grave. And a young reporter, armed with nothing but a camera.
Evening is falling on a wet, gray, autumn day in upstate New York. Ellie Stone, twenty-four-year-old reporter for a small local daily, stands at a crossroads in her career and in her life. Alone in the world, battling her own losses and her own demons, Ellie is ready to pack it in and return to New York a failure. Then she hears the dispatch over the police scanner.
A hunter, tramping through a muddy wood north of the small town of New Holland, has tripped over the body of a twenty-one-year-old society girl half-buried in the leaves. Ellie is the first reporter on the scene. The investigation provides a rare opportunity to rescue her drowning career, but all leads seem to die on the vine, until Ellie takes a daring chance that unleashes unintended chaos.
Wading through a voyeuristic tangle of small-town secrets, she makes some desperate enemies, who want her off the case. Dead if necessary.
I’m definitely starting to fangirl over this series a bit. The covers (gorgeous!!!), the main character (sass and class people!), and the writing are all superb. I know I said it in the last review, but there is something so classic about these books; it is chocked full of mystery, suspense, and heavy subjects while lighter on the gore and violence. The subjects are well researched and fit together with the evidence of a great amount of care on the author’s part. I truly can’t say enough good things about this series and I’m already feeling anxious that there are only 2 more before I’m part of the crowd waiting for more Ellie Stone.
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever;
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness.”
– John Keats
If you read the above blurb, then you know the general plot for the book, so I won’t rehash it here. We have taken a leap from the last book forward almost 1 year in time, and Ellie still isn’t recouped from her last investigation involving her father (No spoilers here; you’ll just have to pick up Styx & Stone to find out for yourself). We finally get to see what her daily life is like and what all her job requires of her. From the very beginning we’re drawn in; Ellie has a police scanner installed in her vehicle (what self-respecting woman in the 60’s doesn’t?) and catches a huge tip on a body recovered in the woods. Frank Olney (whom we met in the last novel briefly) decides to utilize Ellie’s photography skills and have her take the investigative photos of the crime scene, which plants the need to investigate in Ellie’s core. She fights George tooth and nail to be the reporter on the highest profile murder the city has seen in recent history and, lucky for us, we get to be a fly on the wall and join in Ellie’s journey in finding the murderer.
While book 1 had a good bit of character development and focus, this one was a little more action and suspense. I simply could not put this book down; I drug it to the gym with me (twice a day for 2 days), read during my kid’s nap time, and picked it up again as soon as they were in bed. As you may have guessed, my house is a pig sty and we all have no clean clothes or fresh food. 🙂 When I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it. These are traditional detective style mysteries, so I was picking apart the clues in my head and trying to piece together who was a part of what scenario. Needless to say, as was the case with the last book, I was wrong with all my guesses and Mr. Ziskin stumped me again. I think the reason these books are so satisfying to me is that nothing pleases me more than being completely unable to put together an investigation on my own and having to have it spelled out for me. Think Alfred Hitchcock, Agatha Christie, etc.; these books give you complete closure and do not rely on some huge cliffhanger to leave you desperate to read the next one. You simply want to continue the series because they are THAT good and you want to follow Ellie on another clever adventure.
*Many thanks again to James Ziskin, Seventh Street books, and Angelle Barbazon for providing me copies of all the current Ellie Stone mysteries in exchange for honest reviews.